Side of the Rhode: Who’s Hot and Who’s Not in RI Politics?

Friday, May 11, 2012


Who’s Hot?

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President Obama & Senator Reed -> Nice to see the President and Rhode Island’s most senior member of Congress step up and join the 21st century by supporting same-sex marriage. The only question is, what took them so long? We’ll give them the benefit of the doubt, but Reed in particular has been pressed on this for months by local reporters and only broke his silence following the President’s endorsement.

Barry Hinckley -> The Republican Senate candidate has avoided social issues, but it’s worth noting that he’s pro-choice and supports same-sex marriage. It’s unclear how much that will help his campaign, but it shouldn’t hurt all that much. Moderates who don’t want to put a far-right winger into office might be willing to take another look Hinckley.

Teresa Tanzi -> The freshman rep is spot-on for calling for a more thorough review of the $1.6 billion in tax breaks given out each year by the state. Tax breaks are fine as long as we know they are helping to create jobs. It’s time for Rhode Islanders to know exactly what they’re getting out of these deals.

Gene Dyszlewski -> The Reverend is the latest candidate to throw his hat into the ring for the Senate seat being vacated by Bea Lanzi. He’ll take on Frank Lombardi in what should be one of the best local races to watch this year.

Susan Lusi -> Congratulations to Dr. Lusi, who was named permanent Superintendent of Providence schools this week. Lusi has earned plenty of respect from teachers and administrators and it was nice to see the School Board offer her the position. Here’s hoping she can begin to turn around the city’s struggling schools.

Steve Smith -> Speaking of Providence schools, Steve Smith will remain head of the teachers union. Despite a challenge from a group unhappy with him for signing on to the Race to the Top reform efforts, Smith was able to maintain hold of the presidency. Smith has long complained that there has been too much turnover with Superintendents in the city. He certainly must be thankful that Lusi is staying on board.

GOP Strike Force -> The Republican group unveiled the first group of candidates they plan to support in various General Assembly races earlier this week. Now the key will be to actually help raise them some money and mount serious challenges at their opponents.

Pat Crowley -> He’s not the only union talking head that has been predicting the state would bring in significantly more tax revenue than it was projecting, but he has certainly been the loudest. Now it’s time to use some of that extra money to restore the cuts made to the developmentally disabled in last year’s budget.

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Who’s Not

Bishop Tobin -> Bishop Tobin does a lot of wonderful things for a lot of people in Rhode Island, but he sounds like a blowhard when he takes to the airwaves to blast the President and Rhode Island’s Congressional delegation for supporting same-sex marriage.It's one thing to be stuck on the wrong side of history. It's another to drag everyone else down with you.

John Cicilline -> He’s gone to prison, stiffed Providence for thousands of dollars and now he picked up a DUI. Something tells me Congressman Cicilline wishes his brother would just take a nice long vacation and not return until December.

Susan Sosnowski -> It’s noble that this State Rep. doesn’t want to see parents smoking in front of their children, but our cops have more important things to do. The first time an officer misses a John Cicilline or Senator Ruggerio driving drunk to chastise some mother for smoking and driving, there would be total outrage from the entire the state. Let’s keep our eye on the ball.

West Warwick -> We’ve been saying it for awhile, but it looks like West Warwick may be the next municipality to go broke or raise taxes through the roof. It seems like the smaller communities are in even worse shape than Providence, which at least has a few assets it (in theory) could sell off before filing for bankruptcy.

Big East Conference -> The sad sports news of the week was that John Marinatto resigned as head if te Big East. Now there is a lot of concern that the league, which looks nothing like the one that was founded over 30 years ago, may end up moving its headquarters out of Rhode Island. More jobs lost. Surprise. Surprise.


Dan McGowan can be reached at [email protected]


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